This is a Nederlog of Friday, October 10. It is a crisis log.
The present crisis log has 9 items and 8 links. As usual, most news is
bad, but there is some good news about Snowden in item 7. Also at least
item 1, item 4,
item 6 and item 8 seem
interesting to me.
Item 9 is only a brief warning about
tomorrow, when I will start with some on my disease that I have since
1.1.1979. (This will probably not interest many, and will be in its own
NSA: Even the Secrets We Tell You Are Too Secret For You
To Know About
item is an article by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept:
This starts as follows:
It’s an assertion
that defies common sense but speaks volumes about how the U.S.
intelligence complex dodges accountability: The National Security
Agency is arguing that even the secrets it has intentionally disclosed
to reporters are still so secret that disclosing their disclosure
threatens national security.
Yes, indeed, though
there are two partial explanations (and a third one we get below):
First, the NSA has been extremely secret until Edward Snowden
outed it. There were some who criticized it, for quite a long time
also, notably James Bamford, but for quite a long time very few
had any idea the NSA existed, and had certainly few ideas what it was
doing, for this was all secret. Second, the speakers for the NSA
generally keep up front: Although it is very hard to believe that they
believe much of the nonsense they purvey, they do pretend they believe
it - and in fact few can check them out, for nearly all they do is done
But the real explanation is the one Froomkin gives:
(...) what the NSA
is so sensitive about is how frequently its officials disclose
secrets when doing so serves the agency’s political agenda – and
especially when it discredits the agency’s critics.
That is to say, the NSA
is quite capable of leaking secrets, provided only the secrets
they leak supports their own propaganda:
For more, see the above
dotted link - and the term "pleaks" is a good one.
One of the biggest open
secrets in Washington is that, despite officialdom’s intensive efforts
to demonize whistleblowers like former NSA analyst Edward Snowden, the
vast majority of disclosures of secret information are not “leaks” but
“pleaks” — a term Columbia
Law Professor David E. Pozen coined to describe something that is
more like an official “plant” than a “leak.”
W. Bush and Dick Cheney were particularly adept at selectively
disclosing secret intelligence findings that served their agenda – even
while aggressively asserting the need to keep secret the information
that would damage them.
Isis fails war’s most critical imperative, so where is the opposition?
item is an article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian:
This starts as
It is my first Hitler of
this war. I queried the west’s strategy of bombing Islamic State (Isis)
and an elegant thinktanker retorted, “I suppose you would let Hitler
run riot over Europe.” I walked away. I always respect Godwin’s
Law, which states that the longer an argument runs, the greater the
likelihood Hitler gets mentioned, killing it stone dead.
I cannot recall a
conflict so swamped by incoherence as the one in northern Iraq. The
awfulness of Isis has given the
something-must-be-done-even-if-it’s-stupid lobby an ostensibly crushing
moral ascendancy. The right takes comfort in faux belligerence: David
Cameron’s party conference speech frothed with “evil people, pure and simple”; it dripped with killed children, raped women, genocides and beheadings.
He declared that “some people seem to think we can opt out of this. We
can’t. There is no walk-on-by option.”
Actually, I do not
respect Godwin's Law: It seems to me an an attempt to stop all
mentioning of Nazism. I do not deny many mentionings are like the one
quoted above, which are little better than lies or postures, but then most
public arguments are bound to be false, given how many there
are, and how opposed these often are.
Also, I am Dutch, and
I am the only Dutchman (who lives in Holland) I know who had a father and a grandfather
condemned by the Nazis to the
concentration camp as
"political terrorists", which my grandfather did not survive, while the
Dutch in great majority stood by and did nothing, as over 1%
of the total population was rounded up to be gassed "because they
belonged to an inferior race". (But it is true that it was largely
unknown they were to be gassed. It is also true there were six
more Dutchmen in the SS as there were in the resistance, and true that,
as soon as the war was over, almost every Dutchman - according
late Dutch prime minister, who was quite heroic in the war - claimed to
be a hero of the resistance. Nearly all lied.)
Besides, I have been
removed as a student from the philosophy faculty of the University of
Amsterdam briefly before taking my M.A. there as "a fascist" and "a
terrorist" - which I am not at all - according to no
less than 16 academically paid, tenured and employed parasites,
whose parasitism I criticized in an invited public lecture in
1988 - and indeed none of them ever published anything, or hardly
anything, and never of any value, but they were paid 15 or more times
what I was and am paid, for doing nothing at all except
parasiting very well from the Dutch taxes as bureaucratic
Finally, there is
a good reason to mention Nazism and keep it in mind: It is the
best recent Western example of great evil, and of an autocratic
dictatorial regime that started a World War and killed around 73
Next, "the awfulness
of Isis" is something few Westerners have any first hand
experience of: while I do not deny they seem to be awful, most that
reached me definitely has the ring of propaganda
around it, indeed both
by Isis and by the Western media (and the last tend to not
mention drones, bombings and the many deaths caused by the Americans
the last 13 years).
Here is some more by Simon Jenkins:
Cameron is emerging as a
typical politician of fear, with his hyperbolic elevation of Isis as a
menace that “we must deal with or they will deal with us, bringing terror
and murder to our streets”. An inability to differentiate between
lethal criminality and national security is dangerous in a democratic
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link, and Jenkins is right in
asking for opposition to this war, which is almost totally absent, in
spite of the fact - or maybe because of the fact - that this war is not
winnable and does have no clear aim, while it is furthered by hysteria.
3. The Rise of the New, Liberal Islamophobia
item is an article by Sonali Kolhatkar on Truthdig!:
This starts as follows:
Well...yes and no. I
agree with the middle paragraph, but the first paragraph does not
seem quite right about Bill Maher - "Muslims are bad people because their religion
is" - while the third seems
to be written
by a religious believer.
The recent television
kerfuffle involving “Real Time” host Bill Maher and guest Sam Harris
over whether Muslims are bad people because their religion is, in the
words of Harris, “the mother lode of bad ideas,” is symbolic of the new
Muslim-bashing has become
a popular sport several times over the last decade and a half, most
notably in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; after
the election of Barack Obama; over the proposal for the so-called
Ground Zero mosque; and now with the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and
Syria. But this time, it’s not just members of the extreme right, such
as Rep. Michele Bachmann and presidential wannabe Herman Cain, equating
Islam with terrorism.
Maher, one of the
bastions of liberal ideology, is the source of the latest strain of
anti-Muslim racism, along with his cohort Harris, a neuroscientist and
author whose bigotry was superbly exposed by Chris Hedges in his 2008
book, “I Don’t Believe in
Indeed, as I have said before, I do not like Sam Harris and I
do like Chris Hedges, but I am a philosopher who is an atheist, with
parents who were atheists (and also sincere, intelligent, honest and
while my mother's family were atheists since the 1850ies (when very few
people were), and I just do not believe in religion: As Multatuli
said, "all religion is superstition". They are also all false
(or if you are religious: all but one are false), and all use extremely
invalid arguments to further faith in their assertions.
Kolhatkar also has this about Bill Maher:
I have never liked
Maher. His comedy has generally catered to a white middle-class male
audience that has attempted to reconcile ideals of equality and freedom
with moral superiority and American exceptionalism. In that sense he
perfectly reflects the hawkish desires of the Democratic Party, which
sees war as a just cause in the face of fundamentalism—never mind that
U.S. policies have often laid the groundwork for said fundamentalism to
flourish in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.
I like Bill Maher,
though I disagree with him on quite a number of things, that include
his portrayal of Muslims and his support for Obama. The main reason I
like him (I am white, but not middle-class nor American) is that he is
one of the few who is smart, funny and mostly - more or less -
right about American politics, together with Jon Stewart and a few
But I suppose that - not liking Bill Maher - is part of the reason
Kolhatkar writes about him, though indeed there also are other reasons.
Anyway, there is a considerable amount more under the last dotted link.
Corporations Are Trying to Take Your Right to Complain
About Their Products Away
item is an article by Sage McHugh on Alternet:
This starts as follows:
To me this sounds both crazy and true.
Customers may unknowingly
sign away their right to free speech by accepting the terms of service
without reading the fine print. To prevent consumers from posting
negative reviews, some companies are slipping non-disparagement clauses
into contracts. If users post bad reviews online, even accounts that
are completely truthful, they could be sued for violating the terms of
these so-called agreements.
Companies do have the
right to sue people for disparaging reviews if they are false. The
issue at hand is whether a company can sue a client for posting a
negative review that is true. As of now, litigation is largely
determined on a case-by-case and state-by-state basis.
I would say that my rights to free speech are much more
important - if I speak truly or mostly truly - than whatever a
corporation can impose on me by my refusal to read their fine print
(which tends to be completely impossible for anyone without a degree in
law, and anyway costs far too much time), but indeed since the Supreme
Court made corporations people and money free speech, almost anything
seems possible in U.S. law.
There is considerably more in the article, including opposition against this quite crazy schema
of corporations that forbid you speaking the truth about their products.
5. Renewables Not Enough: World Needs
Democratic, Decentralized Energy, says Report
item is an article by Jon Queally on Common Dreams:
This starts as
In order to build an
adequate low-carbon 21st century energy system that scientists have
said is necessary to stave off the worst impacts of climate change, a
new report argues that the world must look beyond large-scale,
centralized renewable projects—such as industrial solar and wind
farms—and take up efforts to build more democratically-controlled and
decentralized power grids.
Contained as a chapter in
the Worldwatch Institute's State
of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability, the
research compiled by professor Sean Sweeney, who co-directs of
the Global Labor Institute at Cornell University, says the world's
energy systems must be "reclaimed to serve public interests, rather
than focus on maximizing sales and profits" for the large corporations
who now benefit from the burning of fossil fuels and the centralized
grids that distribute most of the world's electricity.
Well...I can be brief
about this: (1) I agree with what is said, but (2) I have read many
proposals concerning energy, pollution and the environment the last 44
years (e.g. in the University of Amsterdam) that I - more or less -
agreed with (in principle), but which
came to absolutely nothing, while (3) the present case seems one
more such noble proposal, for it does not at all explain how
one can successfully reclaim "public interests, rather than focus on maximizing sales and
profits" at a time when precisely the opposite is happening.
But there is
considerably more in the article, and - of course - you may disagree
6. Critics to Obama: 'Draconian Cuts' Have Been
to US Public Services, Not War Budget
item is an article by Sarah Lazare on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
comments on Wednesday that U.S. military spending is under threat of
"draconian" cuts were met with immediate rebuke from analysts, who say the
poor are bearing the brunt of austerity while the war budget remains
largely untouched. That the president's comments came in the midst of
the expansion of the costly
U.S.-led war against Iraq and Syria sparked concern that the president
could be signaling further escalation to come.
I agree with the
"analysts" and added bolding: "the poor are
bearing the brunt of austerity while the war budget remains
Also, I think it considerably more likely that there will be (more)
American troops send out to fight Isis on the ground.
There is considerably
more in the article, but the only thing worth stressing is that Obama
was simply lying when he described "the draconian cuts" to his
"defense" budget: As the article makes clear, this refers to a cut of less
than 1% in 2014.
7. Edward Snowden to speak at Observer
item is an article by Carole Cadwalladdr on The Guardian:
This starts as follows
(and is Good News, for a change):
There is more in the
article, including sensible ideas of John Naughton, who is going to
Edward Snowden will make
his first UK public appearance via satellite link this weekend more
than one year since the Guardian published his revelations about mass
surveillance and the NSA.
Appearing via video link
from Moscow, Snowden will be speaking as part of the Observer Ideas
festival on Sunday, being held at London’s Barbican Theatre.
His appearance will come
two days after the world premiere of Laura Poitras’s documentary about
the whistleblower’s revelations, CITIZENFOUR, at the New York Film
Snowden is also being
tipped as one of the favourites to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which is
also being announced tomorrow.
8. What’s Wrong With The Trans Atlantic Trade And
item is an article by Don Quijones on Raging Bull-Shit:
This starts as follows:
And this is the video.
It's scary but adequate:
Most Europeans and
Americans are still blissfully unaware of even the existence of
the Transalantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP),
nevermind how it could impact their own existence. Here’s a
four-minute, eight-second summation of many (but far from all) of the
things that are wrong with the soon-to-be-signed treaty (told from a
largely European perspective).
I will probably start with a brief English review on my M.E.
the last month, followed by a considerable amount of Dutch
quotations from 1987 and
1988 on my experiments with vitamins.
The last is possibly interesting to few, since I did get a lot
better from 1984-1988 with the help of vitamins, but then lost all the
health I had gained and more through being systematically deprived of
sleep, of rights and of help by four
cafés with terraces open till well after 1 o'clock at night within 10
to 20 meters
from where I was supposed to sleep.
This is probably only interesting to a few, so it will be in its own